El Clot, Salinas, El Pinet, PFT and San Felipe – Malcolm Palmer

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The Costa Blanca Bird Club were holding their May field trip in the ‘central area’ and, accordingly, met at Gran Alacant on a fine morning, a healthy 26 members present. We proceeded to the Clot de Galvany, where there wasn’t a great deal to be seen, but a Turtle Dove chimed up quite soon with its purring song, and was soon located, leading us to a Little Owl perched nearby. Some members went to the Marsh Hide and saw Pied Flycatcher there. We moved off to the Salinas, where we all had good views of a variety of small waders, including Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. The Reserve at El Pinet was our next venue, with a special purpose in mind. From surplus club funds, our president, Stephan Cramer, presented Sergio Arroyo, the president of AHSA, a cheque for 1,000 euros, which will assist in essential water-control measures at their marshland reserve. We paused there to watch the Common, Little and Sandwich Terns, and the many Slender-billed Gulls as well as the few Spotted Flycatchers which had recently arrived.

On then to the Palm Farm Track, where we soon had distant views of two raptors high up. They drifted closer, and we were able to identify them as Honey Buzzards – typical passage migrants at this season, but always nice to see. There was little else around, save a nice Purple Heron and a few Squacco Herons, so we drove to Lo Chicharra, seeing Woodchat Shrike en route. There two Night Herons flew over, and Whiskered and Little Terns constantly rose. A Stone Curlew dropped into a nearby field, and lovely Collared Pratincoles were plentiful.

An excellent lunch – as ever – ensued, at El Rocio, then we stretched our legs at the Visitor Centre. The Red-knobbed Coot at the Charco de Contacto was feeding three chicks and there were several Marbled Duck to be seen, as well as a Gadwall and a briefly-seen Little Bittern. After we had taken our leave, some members were lucky enough to find Rollers at their ‘usual’ site, and had the good fortune to spot a Cuckoo as they went home.